The speed of a whale depends on the species. For example, a finback, the second-largest type of whale, makes short sprints through the water at 35 mph. Normally, it swims about 14 mph.

A blue whale, the largest mammal in the world, is able to reach a top speed of 30 mph when frightened. Its typical swim speed is around 12 mph. Pilot whales achieve 20 mph when chasing prey such as large squid. Unlike most whales, pilots can maintain the chase for 15 minutes at farther than 3,000 feet below the ocean's surface. Humpback whales in danger top out at about 16 mph. Their usual swim speed is between 3 and 9 mph.